Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:50 pm

Memphis CB Dawson picks Georgia over Ole Miss

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A long night for Ole Miss got even longer as the Rebels' Memphis target Sheldon Dawson committed to Georgia Monday instead.

A top athlete projected to play cornerback at the collegiate level, Dawson had long been committed to hometown Memphis but was expected to flip to either the Bulldogs or the nearby Rebels once he began receiving SEC offers. Dawson told Scout.com that he is "100 percent committed" to Georgia and will not consider a late switch to any other team.

"I am definitely signing with Georgia, and I feel relieved to end this process," Dawson said. In addition to the Bulldogs' and Rebels' offers, Dawson visited Cincinnati and claimed interest from Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.

Maxpreps' Tom Lemming agrees with the consensus that Dawson -- a 5'11", 170-pound athlete from Memphis's Ridgeway High School that has also seen time at running back and wideout -- is "best suited" for cornerback:

Proves to be a flexible athlete with excellent speed, he can flip his hips and run vertically, can support the run, and is also an explosive punt returner.

Dawson is Georgia's 17th commitment for 2012, a class currently ranked 22nd in the Maxpreps team recruiting top 25. For Ole Miss, Dawson's decision was insult to the already sizable injury of seeing hometown quarterback Jeremy Liggins announce in downtown Oxford he would be signing with LSU instead.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:19 pm

QB Jeremy Liggins spurns Ole Miss for LSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Dual-threat quarterback Jeremy Liggins made his commitment official at a restaurant on Oxford's Square. The Lafayette (Oxford, Miss.) High School star was choosing between Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, and staying home at Ole Miss.

Any potential hometown celebrations were spoiled when Liggins spurned both in-state schools and chose LSU.

Liggins, with Mardis Gras beads around his neck, told the crowd that he was "100 percent" committed to LSU. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound signal caller joins a LSU class lacking a quarterback after Gunner Kiel flipped his commitment to Notre Dame. He led his high school team to back-to-back 4A state championships, including 32-straight wins. In 2011, he there for 1,678 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 953 yards and adding 18 touchdowns on the ground.

LSU's 2012 commits were ranked No. 14 nationally in the latest update to MaxPreps Top Classes, catch up on the last minute targets at the SEC Signing Day Overview.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 5:41 pm

Texas OT Goines flips from Mizzou to UCLA

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A strong finish on the trail by Jim L. Mora and UCLA continued Monday as they added a fifth offensive lineman to their growing 2012 class. And unfortunately for Gary Pinkel, this one came at the expense of Missouri.

Tiger commitment Simon Goines announced Monday that he would be signing with the Bruins instead, bringing Mora's first class in Westwood to 26 players overall and further cementing their spot among the nation's top 20 classes according to Maxpreps.

Though the Bruins and Tigers were Goines' two finalists, the 6'7", 290-pound tackle from Central High School in Keller, Texas, also claimed offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State and others.

Maxpreps' Tom Lemming writes that Goines should be a major addition to a Bruin offensive line that has struggled mightily with depth in recent seasons--at least once he's given time to fill out:

He proves to be one of the more aggressive LT prospects in the Southwest. Blessed with quick feet, he's passionate about the game of football, works hard to improve his game, and is athletic enough to have played a little TE in 2010. Looks thin at 272 and should weigh between 310 and 320 in college. He's not there yet but his potential is unlimited.

So why is a prospect from Texas spurning dozens of offers to stay closer to home to hit the far left coast? A big part of the answer is likely Adrian Klemm, the former SMU assistant turned ace recruiter for Mora's staff at UCLA--one of those offers was also from the Mustangs.

Mora may not have been seen as a smash hire at the time of his arrival and will still have plenty to prove no matter how well the Bruins finish in recruiting, but to date there's no arguing with the success of his staff selections so far.

Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:12 pm

Pair of defenders choose Texas A&M

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Texas A&M will need plenty of solid defenders to match up against their new competition in the SEC West. Fortunately for Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies received pledges from two such defenders Sunday.

The first was Polo Manukainiu, 6'5" 255-pound defensive end from Euless Trinity High School in the Dallas area. A former Oklahoma commitment whose senior season was delayed by a summer knee injury, Manukainiu chose the Aggies over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Nebraska and UCLA. 

"I love the tradition, the fans, everything," Manukainiu said of selecting the Aggies. "My mom likes it, and I like it."

But the news would get even better for the Aggies as they landed an even higher-profile commitment just minutes later: Edward Pope, a coveted athlete from Carthage, Texas who flipped to A&M from TCU. Though Pope played multiple positions for Carthage, he projects as a safety at the next level.

Pope also claimed offers from the Aggies' new SEC rivals at Arkansas and Missouri and ranks as the Maxpreps No. 14 safety in the class of 2012. Tom Lemming writes this in his preseason evaluation of Pope: 

When I watched Edward on sophomore film I was convinced he would rank among the very best FS prospects in the country. As it is he still ranks among the very best and with a good 2011 season there could be no stopping him. Edward shows great range, instincts, vision, and ball-hawking skills. He breaks and closes on the ball as well as any FS prospect in the state, is smooth in transition, and shows natural movement skills. He rarely takes a missed step. A major talent with five-star potential.

With the additions of Manukainiu and Pope, the Aggies are up to 22 commitments and could be poised for a top-10 finish in the Maxpreps team recruiting rankings. Things are quite as rosy for TCU, who lost commitments from two key recruits in Pope and new Texas commitment Daje Johnson in the span of two days.

Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:17 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 12:36 pm

Coach denies Green-Beckham to Missouri report

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd spoke with John Beckham, Green-Beckham's high school coach and adoptive father, who denied the Tulsa World report.

The nation's No. 1 recruit, Dorial Green-Beckham, has the college football world scratching their heads wondering where the 6-foot-6, 225 pound wide receiver will sign on National Signing Day?

The standout from Springfield, Mo. has kept his decision-making process under wraps throughout his recruitment, only recently narrowing his list to Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Which school will add Green-Beckham to their 2012 recruiting class has been a matter of intense debate among recruiting experts for weeks.

A report from Tulsa World reporter John Hoover on Monday morning suggested that Missouri has moved into the top spot and will be Green-Beckham's selection on Wednesday.

"Extremely good source just told me Dorial Green-Beckham to Missouri," Hoover reported from his Twitter account. "Influential visit last weekend. Things can change but I trust him."

The combination of Green-Beckham's potential and the uncertainty regarding his decision will likely lead to plenty of "sourced" reports over the next two days, but one certainly is worth some attention. To catch up on Green-Beckaham's recruitment and learn more about the school's hoping to receive his commitment, check out Stephen Spiewak's profile from Monday at MaxPreps.com.

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 12:02 pm

Florida grabs junior DT Caleb Brantley

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With coaches quickly turning their attention to hosting 2013 recruits at Junior Days over the next couple of weeks, it's clear that things are in full swing for next year's class just as things are wrapping up for 2012's group. With several SEC programs already grabbing commitments this week, Florida joined the party and grabbed a pledge from Cresent City (Fla.) defensive tackle Caleb Brantley on Saturday.

"I talked to Coach (Will) Muschamp about it while on the visit but I told him I wasn't sure at that time and that I wanted to talk to my family about it," Brantley told Rivals. "After we got home. We talked about it. Coach Muschamp had to catch a plane to Atlanta, so I talked with Coach (Dan) Quinn tonight and told him I was committed. Coach Quinn told me to call Coach Muschamp this weekend. He said they were excited to have me in the Gator family."

The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder also held offers from Florida State and USF but figured to pick up several more as college coaches start to evaluate more prospects over the coming weeks and months. Brantley, however, has had his heart set on playing for the Gators and realized his dream over the weekend.

"I grew up a Gator fan and my whole family are Gator fans," he said. "It is really close to home so my whole family can come to see me play."

Brantley becomes the second commitment for Florida's class of 2013, which will follow on the heels of a possible top five class this year. He racked up over 94 tackles and five sacks last season as a junior.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 8:12 pm

Alabama adds two for 2013 at Junior Day

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Most schools are hoping for a big finish to their 2012 classes. But with Alabama's loaded current class already at a full 27 commitments and ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Tide have mostly moved their focus to 2013--and seeing that focus pay off with a rash of early commitments.

The Tide received three of them over the weekend at their annual Junior Day, including a pair Sunday in New Orleans wide receiver Raheem Falkins and Fultondale (Ala.) athlete ArDarius Stewart. Arkansas running back Altee Tenpenny committed to the Tide on Saturday. The commitments bring Alabama to a total of seven for their 2013 class already.

"I like their program, they've got a nice program,'' Falkins told the Times-Picayune. "Coach [Nick] Saban, he recruited me the hardest. He competed with other schools and showed the most interest.''

Both Falkins and Stewart project as two of the higher-ranked prospects at their positions for next year's class. The 6'4", 190-pound Falkins pulled in 53 passes for 989 yards as a junior and earned all-state honors. He claims early offers from Tennessee, Colorado and Illinois--though not home-state LSU, which still might complicate things for the Tide down the road.

Stewart was named Alabama's class 2A Back of the Year after piling up 50 total touchdowns and more than 3,400 yards of total offense in 2011.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 6:43 pm

FSU DE commit Fowler dons Gators jersey in visit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Maxpreps top 100 defensive end Dante Fowler has been committed to Florida State since December of 2010. But an interview and photograph provided to the Gainesville Sun Friday show suggested that Florida Fowler plenty to think about.

"I don’t know where I’m going,” Fowler said following Thursday's in-home visit from Gator head coach Will Muschamp and four different Florida assistants. “Not yet. I need this week to think about it. It’s gonna be pretty hard. I’m making a decision that’s gonna stick with me for the rest of my life.”

The Gator coaches also brought along a prop for Fowler to try on, one which he did in this photo with his two brothers, "huge Florida fans":

“It felt real good to put on a Gator jersey,” Fowler told the Sun. “No. 6 is my favorite number. I never thought I’d put on a Gator jersey, so it was crazy. My brothers were real pumped.”

Despite the photo and comments, Sun writer Robbie Andrieu reported Friday afternoon that Fowler is now "100 percent committed" to Florida State and the Gators have "zero chance" of changing his mind.

Still, Florida State supporters may be on the nervous side given how hotly pursued Fowler has been. A 4.5 star recruit and the No. 44 player on the Maxpreps top 100, the 6'3", 235-pound end out of St. Petersburg, Fla. ranks as the No. 6 defensive end in the class.  Tom Lemming writes about Fowler:

Here is a DE who will not stay blocked. Relentless, tough and aggressive, he has outstanding closing speed. He's a quarterback's nightmare ... exceptionally quick off the ball, has a remarkable first step which allows him to beat almost every defender he goes up against, shows a great motor, is relentless in pursuit, plays hard until the whistle, and has the frame to weigh 270 in college. A dynamic playmaker who comes off the edge better than any DE prospect in the country ... He needs to be double and sometimes triple-teamed at all times. 

Fowler said he will announce his final decision on signing day on ESPNU. Florida currently ranks fourth in the Maxpreps list of the top 25 classes, with the Seminoles five sports behind in ninth; depending on the decisions made by other players, Fowler's choice could conceivably swing which of the two bitter Sunshine State rivals winds up the more highly-ranked class.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com